Fill up your Cup

11 August 2021 Giles Keay


I was chatting with a friend on the weekend and the difficulty of finding time outside of the relentless number of meetings and the much larger volume of work we all seem to be doing since COVID began.  It seems to me that everyone has less time to look after themselves than we have ever had, I know for a fact that even though we hardly leave the house we seem to be busier than ever!

I looked up the definition of "Filling up your Cup" and the best one I saw was "To fill your cup means to replenish those stores of mental, emotional, and physical energy. It means that you need to stop and recharge your batteries."  Simple.. to understand but seemingly difficult for us all to achieve...

I have always understood the benefit and need to ensure that you focus on ensuring that you do look after yourself and "fill your cup" with those activities that do make you feel happier, stronger and more positive so you are to be able to support not only yourself but also those around you.  I have heard the airplane oxygen analogy used many times (and on planes when we used to fly!) over the last year, "In the unlikely event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down from the panel above your head… Secure your own mask before helping others."  Clearly, we are all applying that advice to looking after yourself first so you have the strength to then help others.. once again easier said than done, when you see your partner, children, parents family and friends struggling to support themselves and stay positive in the current COVID climate we are in then how you could possibly do something for yourself first.... isn't that SELFISH??!!

The reality is that there has never been a more important time to try to "refill your cup" and try to find ways to replenish your energy levels, but there has never been a more difficult time to do it.  Many of the ways that we would normally have done this are difficult to do now and as such not all of these are relevant this moment however, I think it is important to consider all the many ways you can do this and then you can amend or change to make it work where you can.

One of the most import aspects to realise that what is capable of filling one person’s cup is not the same for someone else and will also work differently for the same person at different times.  It is exactly the same as work life "harmony" not "balance" because the time that someone needs to invest in themselves is NOT 50/50 for everyone. Often others have opinions on what you should do and of course suggestions are great but only you know what really works for you.

  • Chatting and seeing friends and family (clearly on Video if you are in lockdown!)

  • Take a walk and absorb yourself in nature

  • Sleep! Make sure you are getting enough....

  • Reading a book or magazine

  • Meditation

  • Yoga

  • Do a jigsaw

  • Exercise- running gym

  • Listening to Music

  • Playing an instrument

  • Socialising, going out for dinner and having a drink! (the one I miss the most right now!)

  • Dancing (one of the best for me to let myself go.... a nightclub at home is the best we can do for now...)

  • Cooking for yourself and others

  • Watching a great series or film

  • Turning off your mobile and computer!

 As I mentioned earlier, some of these need to be amended but almost all of them can be done right now in the middle of lockdown if you, like me, are currently stuck in one...  We can often find reasons why we don't do things, but it is not a luxury it is actually a necessity for your own mental health and wellbeing. 

 If you fill your cup regularly and make sure you don't hit emergency levels and not only, will you be a far happier and positive individual, you will most likely have much much more capacity of others around you. I also believe that another fantastic side effect is that you will also be far more productive at work and most likely more successful.  Too many people believe that the longer or more they work the better their performance is.. my thoughts are completely the opposite... you need to feel great to perform great!

 I hope that this quick refresher helps you to think about what is important to you and making sure you are finding the time and space to "Fill Up Your Cup"